Farmers and Leaders

25 May

On Saturday, while taking refuge from the returning rains, I (David) sat down with Opira Kevin.

Kevin is participating in the current Piggery and Life Skills program and I wanted to learn more about why he chose to participate.

Kevin was born and raised in Gulu, not too far from TRP. He is married, and has three young sons.

He works as a boda boda (motorbike driver) to try and earn enough money to to house and feed his family and send his kids to school . He gets by, but making ends meet is tough. He has tried raising pigs, but with no training and limited capital he struggled, working by trial and error. He was starting to give up on his dream when he heard about TRP’s program and jumped at the opportunity.

As we talked and did a chair-shuffle-dance to avoid the moving rains I asked Kevin what he has learnt from the course so far.

“I’ve learnt how to do IMO, plumbing for drip feeding, building piggery buildings, identifying different breeds and more. It has been really helpful what I am getting here. Really helpful!

When I probed about the life skills elements he chuckled.

“It’s no secret that I’m bad when it comes to the life skills. The life skills elements are necessary and really bring out who you are. I struggled at first but now I’m making friends with people from all walks of life and have learnt how to be with others. I’ve also learnt about conflict resolution and problem solving.”

“I didn’t see much benefit in connecting with the others [participants] but I’ve learnt to work as a unit with others and will continue to have contact with them after the course.”

When I asked Kevin about the difference that this course will make to him, he became a little more animated. While the training will assist him to earn a sustainable income for his family it is clearly also reigniting energy for a dream that he had previously held.

“It has been my dream to do farming on a commercial scale and I know now that I’ll be able to do it!”

“Not only will we emerge as farmers but as people who know how to be leaders in the community. I don’t think I will be the same again. I will be a better farmer and a better person.”

In order to make this project happen, TRP has partnered with Geneva Global. With their support we have been able to eliminate some of the cost barriers which usually come with courses like these. In order to join the course, participants pay a small course fee which they receive back at towards the end of the course with an additional grant. This will enable them to immediately build their own piggeries. They also contribute weekly to a savings program which they will have access to at the end of the program in order to purchase pigs.

“Usually these courses are too expensive,” Kevin told me, “and capital has always been an issue.”

“I would have easily given up but the grants will enable me to do it and now I believe I can do it. I’m never going to give up again!”

To find out more about the Piggery and Life Skills training and how you can support programs like these, head to our Agriculture and get involved pages.

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